A diverse group of people make up the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) and the program in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and Media (AMCM). A wide geographical range (from Japan to Central Asia) and research fields (from the classics to contemporary media) are covered by award-winning and highly accomplished professors. Affiliated members ensure rigorous engagement with different humanistic disciplines for graduate students. Teachers of Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Urdu, Hmong, Japanese, and Korean—all recognized for their high pedagogical skills—produce language savvy students year after year.

Regular Faculty

Fall 2023 and Spring 2024

Name Contact Specialties
Shir Alon
Assistant Professor
230C Folwell Hall
Literary temporalities; theories of world literature; gender theory; postcolonial theory and decolonization; historiography of the modern Middle East
Palita Chunsaengchan
Assistant Professor
327E Folwell Hall
Comparative Media Aesthetics; Film theory / historiography; Early Thai Cinema; "Media Modernity"; Cinema and Politics of Class, Production and Circulation; Contemporary Southeast Asian Cinema
Joseph Farag
Associate Professor

220M Folwell Hall

on sabbatical 2023-2024

Palestinian literature and film; modern Arabic literature; Arab cultural studies; modern Arab history, politics, and society; Arab-American studies
Alia Goehr
Assistant Professor
228C Folwell Hall
Ming- and Qing-dynasty Chinese literature; Chinese Religions; The Novel & World Literature; Theories of Mind and Corporeality; Commentary Traditions
Maki Isaka
223 Folwell Hall
Japanese theater and literature; gender studies
Alexander Jabbari
Assistant Professor
220N Folwell Hall
19th- and 20th-century Middle East and South Asia; Persian literature; literary and intellectual history; philology; Persianate world
327C Folwell Hall
Japanese popular culture from the 1870s to the present; Japanese literature; Early Meiji writing, especially newspapers and gesaku literature; Gender, sexuality, and identity in print and film culture; Ethics and the animal; Japanese and Asian film
Jason McGrath
Director of Undergraduate Studies

225 Folwell Hall

amesdus@umn.edu (for DUS matters)

Chinese and international cinemas; modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture; realism in fiction, film, and theory; issues of convention and intertextuality in film theory; art and the nation; Chinese and Western Marxism
Paul Rouzer
230D Folwell Hall
Traditional East Asian poetry and poetics; Buddhism and its relation to pre-modern and modern literature; classical Chinese literary traditions in Japan
Nida Sajid
Assistant Professor

231D Folwell Hall

on leave Spring 2024

South Asian Literature (Hindi-Urdu); Muslim Cultures of South Asia; Intellectual History and Paracolonial Networks; Global Eighteenth Century; Human Rights and Transnationalism; Gender, Caste and Religion in South Asia; Material Culture and Dress Studies  
Suvadip Sinha
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies

228D Folwell Hall


South Asian cinema and literature; global modernities; nationalism; post-colonial theory and literature; philosophy of non-human; animality
220H Folwell Hall
Korean literature, film, and intellectual history; state violence and historical memory; melodrama; nationalism; humanism and its critiques

Teaching Faculty


Name Contact Specialities
Katrien Vanpee
Senior Lecturer
Director of Arabic Language Instruction
231E Folwell Hall
Arabic linguistics, teaching Arabic as a foreign language, pre-Islamic, classical and modern Arabic poetry, Nabati poetry, cultural heritage of the Arabian Peninsula, Gulf studies
Mohammed Hussein
Teaching Specialist
228A Folwell Hall
Ali Mohamed
Teaching Specialist
228A Folwell Hall


Name Contact Specialties    
Yufen Chang
Senior Lecturer
Director of the Chinese Flagship Program and Chinese Language Instruction
220K Folwell Hall
Pei-Wen Fang
Teaching Specialist
227 Folwell Hall
Hai Liu
Senior Lecturer
227 Folwell Hall
Linguistics, teaching Chinese as a second language, classical Chinese and literature    
Jin Yaliang Stone
Senior Lecturer
227 Folwell Hall
American literature, teaching Chinese as a second language    
Yao Tu
Associate Director, Chinese Flagship Program
220D Folwell Hall
Curriculum and teaching, instructional design and technology, OPI testing    
Hong Zhang
Teaching Specialist
zhang076@umn.edu Chinese language, Chinese calligraphy    

Hindi and Urdu

Name Contact Specialties
Meraj Ahmed
Senior Lecturer
Director of Hindi and Urdu Language Instruction
220C Folwell Hall
Hindi and Urdu languages


Name Contact Specialties  
Bee Vang-Moua
Senior Teaching Specialist
Director of Hmong Language Instruction
230A Folwell Hall
Hmong language  
Kia Yang
Teaching Specialist
230A Folwell Hall
Hmong Language  


Name Contact Specialties    
Fumiko Matsumoto
Senior Teaching Specialist
Director of Japanese Language Instruction
220A Folwell Hall
Japanese language    
Marnie Jorenby
Senior Lecturer
231A Folwell Hall
Japanese language    
Keiko Kawakami
Senior Teaching Specialist
231A Folwell Hall
Japanese language    
Ayumi Mita
Senior Lecturer
231A Folwell Hall
Japanese language    
Masanori Shiomi
Teaching Specialist
231A Folwell Hall
Japanese language    
Kenichi Tazawa
Teaching Specialist
231A Folwell Hall
Japanese language    


Name Contact Specialties
Hangtae Cho
Associate Professor
Director of Korean Language Instruction
220J Folwell Hall
North Korea; dialectology and language policy; the growing divides of the past 70 years between North and South Korea in the areas of language, society, and culture; language pedagogy; proficiency assessment; phonology in general; Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teacher
Bryce Johnson
Senior Teaching Specialist
421 Folwell Hall
Korean language
Sugyung Kim
Senior Teaching Specialist
229B Folwell Hall
Proficiency-oriented language instruction and second language assessment, Korean as a foreign language, project-based Korean language learning, curriculum development
Suyon Kim
Teaching Specialist
229B Folwell Hall
Korean language
Fatima Zahra Han
Senior Teaching Specialist
421 Folwell Hall
Korean language

Faculty Emeriti

Name Contact Specialties
Joseph Allen
Professor Emeritus
jrallen@umn.edu China; Taiwan; Taipei City; Chinese poetry and poetics; colonialist photography; Chinese textbooks and the modern nation

Affiliate Faculty

The following faculty members can serve as dissertation co-advisors and as a member or reader on graduate committees.

Name Contact Specialties
Hakim Abderrezak
Associate Professor
Department of French & Italian
303C Folwell Hall
Representations of clandestine migrations in Arabic, French and Spanish, Maghrebi and Beur literature, cinema and music, the contemporary western Mediterranean, Francophone studies
Jeffrey Broadbent
Department of Sociology
1026 Social Sciences Building
Political sociology, environmental sociology, climate change, social movements, institutions and culture, Japan, East Asia, cross-national comparative methods, network analysis, qualitative methods
Teri Caraway
Department of Political Science
1311 Social Sciences Building
Southeast Asian politics, transnational labor issues, comparative political economy of labor, gender and comparative politics
Arash Davari
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
1231 Social Sciences Building
Middle East politics, politics and culture of modern Iran, revolution, Modern and Contemporary Political Theory, Anti-Colonial, Anti-Imperial, and Postcolonial Political Theory, Islamic Political Thought, History and Theory; Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
Kale Fajardo
Associate Professor
Department of American Studies
104 Scott Hall
Gender and sexuality studies, queer theory, queer of color critique, masculinity studies, transgender studies, Philippine Studies, Filipinix Studies, Asian American Studies, American Studies, Global Studies, globalization studies, migration studies, conceptual ethnographic practice, (UC) Santa Cruz School of Ethnography, visual cultures, photography, environmental humanities, human-fish relations
Keya Ganguly
Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature
222 Nicholson Hall
The Frankfurt School, Intellectual History of Vision, Sociology of Culture, Postcolonial criticism, Global cinema, Marxism, Peripheral Literature
Vinay Gidwani
Department of Geography, Environment & Society
Institute for Global Studies
333 Social Sciences Building
Labor geographies, theories of agrarian and ecological change, spatiality of class and identity politics, Marxism and post-Marxism, India
Rachmi Diyah Larasati
Associate Professor
Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
425 Ford Hall
Performing arts in global politics and culture, the dancing body, political economy of aesthetics, tourism and female citizenship, Indonesia
Mai Na Lee
Associate Professor
Department of History
937 Heller Hall
Southeast Asia, Southeast Asian American/Hmong communities, Highland Southeast Asian Studies
Kevin Luo
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
1209 Social Sciences Building
Chinese Politics, East Asian Politics, State Building, Authoritarian Politics and Democratization, Politics of Development, Comparative Historical Analysis
Nabil Matar
Department of English
330C Lind Hall
Arabic and European travel literature, early modern Euro-Islamic contacts, Arab-Islamic civilization, 17th-century British religious literature
Hiromi Mizuno
Associate Professor
Department of History
941 Heller Hall
Modern Japan, gender and sexuality, intellectual and cultural history, cultural studies of science and technology, nationalism and colonialism, human rights and international laws
Richa Nagar
Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
425 Ford Hall
Politics of development; feminisms, praxis, and people's movements; intersectionality, translations, and people's theater, South Asia
Yuichiro Onishi
Associate Professor
Department of African American & African Studies
808 Social Sciences Building
African and Asian diasporic studies, black radicalism and internationalism, African American history, critical race studies, Asian American studies
Sonali Pahwa
Assistant Professor
Department of Theatre Arts & Dance
580 Rarig Center
Middle East studies, performance studies, digital media, gender studies, youth culture, Egypt
Zozan Pehlivan
Assistant Professor
Department of History
918 Heller Hall
Environmental History, Climate Change, Violence, Pastoralism, Middle East, Ottoman Empire, Kurdistan
Matthew Rahaim
Associate Professor
School of Music
170 Ferguson Hall
Ethnomusicology, Indian music, ethnography and performance, Hindustani vocality
Sima Shakhsari
Associate Professor
Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
  Transnational Feminist Theory and Practice, Transnational Queer Theory and Sexuality Studies, Diasporas, Necropolitics, Neoliberalism, Governmentality, Social Media, Refugee Studies, Middle East Studies, Political Anthropology, Cultural and Social Anthropology
Ajay Skaria
Department of History
924 Heller Hall
19th- and 20th-century South Asia, environmental history, postcolonial studies/theory, intellectual history, adivasi religious movements, democracies and minorities
Hoon Song
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
395 Hubert H. Humphrey Center
Ontology of power, materiality of sovereignty, psychoanalysis, biopolitics, philosophical anthropology, animality, US and North Korea
Wayne Soon
Associate Professor
Program in the History of Medicine
Shepherd Labs
History of medicine, history of modern China, Taiwan, and diaspora, history of health insurance and medicine, history of pandemics
Shaden M. Tageldin
Associate Professor
Department of Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature
218 Nicholson Hall
Empire and postcolonial studies, 19th- and 20th-century literatures in English, Arabic, and French, trans-African and trans-Asian studies, literatures of migration and diaspora
Ann Waltner
Department of History
912 Heller Hall
Ritual, law, religion, traditional Chinese social history, gender, analysis of historical documentation, rumor, gossip, Chinese history, world history, feminism
Margaret Werry
Associate Professor
Department of Theatre Arts & Dance
550D Rarig Center
Cultural politics and performance of ethnicity, nationalism, and trans-nationalism in the Asia-Pacific region, performance theory and historiographic method, anthropological approaches to performance as social dramaturgy, critical race theory